Review: Walk Right Back – The Everly Brothers Story, The Riverfront, Newport

Andy Howells visits Newport’s Riverfront Theatre to catch Walk Right Back: The Everly Brothers Story saluting rock ‘n’ roll’s most successful recording duo, on its current UK tour.

A musical treat for fans of The Everly Brothers played Newport’s Riverfront Theatre on Saturday evening.

Walk Right Back: The Everly Brothers Story covers the rock’n’roll icons music career from Memphis country music radio origins via package tours, national tv appearances, worldwide chart success to the Everly’s eventual break-up before reuniting in the 1980s.

Guitar/vocalists Lars Pluto and Luke Wilson provided linking narration and factual nuggets about The Everly’s music career and big hits while a backdrop of video footage and animation create atmospherics for each era. However, it’s when Lars and Luke become Don and Phil Everly respectively that the true magic kicked in, as they create heavenly harmonies on classic hits such as All I Have to Do Is Dream, Bye Bye Love, Cathy’s Clown and Wake Up Little Susie. The pair also hit the right notes when recreating rockers Love Is Strange and Lucille, both songs of which featured Lars providing the all-essential Don Everly deep solo vocal where required.

Lending strong instrumental support and helping recreate the energy of the Everly Brothers hits were the charismatic and talented Walk Right Back band featuring Tom Wright on guitar, Rick McKay on bass, Sean McAusland on Keyboards and Eduardo Neto on drums. These guys are true musicians that captured the true essence of those early rock n roll tracks from thumping basslines to creative instrumentation (check out Eduardo tapping out an authentic beat on Take a Message to Mary with screwdriver and coke bottle).

The show’s particular highlights for me were the recreations of the Alan Freed rock’n’roll package tour segment in the first half and The Everly’s 1983 Reunion Concert in the second. These sets magically flowed and really gave an immersive experience of the events.

For the package tour segment, Tom Wright took to the stage as Buddy Holly giving energetic renditions of Oh Boy! and That’ll Be the Day, while Rick McKay delighted the audience as Johnny Cash with renditions of Folsom Prison, and I Walk the Line. Lars and Luke then joined the set as the Everly’s and the band united to perform an all-star rendition of Not Fade Away, (a track originally written by Holly for The Everly’s of which they turned down).

The Reunion Concert segment made up the second half and revisited many Everly Brothers classics including When Will I Be Loved, The Price of Love and Walk Right Back. There were also stunning versions of the Roy Orbison composed song, Claudette and On the Wings of A Nightingale penned by Paul McCartney. A highlight was a performance in full of the song Ebony Eyes (the original B-Side to Walk Right Back), a track The Everly’s themselves rarely sang at live shows.

An unmissable musical treat, the Newport crowd were not short in showing their appreciation for this great show. Personally, I came away wanting to relive this musical feast forEverly! Here’s hoping the guys Walk right back for another tour next year!

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